Effects of olfactory sense on chocolate craving

Appetite. 2016 Oct 1;105:700-4. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2016.07.004. Epub 2016 Jul 6.


In the present study, we assessed the effect of the olfactory sense on chocolate craving in college females. Building on previous research by Kemps and Tiggemann (2013), we hypothesized that a fresh scent would decrease one's craving level for chocolate food. While the precursor study only addressed the decrease of chocolate craving, we also hypothesized that a sweet scent would increase one's craving level for chocolate foods. In the present experiment, participants rated their craving levels after viewing images of chocolate foods and inhaling essential oils: one fresh (Slique™ essence), and one sweet (vanilla). Results supported both of the hypotheses: inhaling a fresh scent reduced females' craving levels; similarly, when a sweet scent was inhaled, the participants' craving levels for chocolate food increased. These findings are particularly beneficial for women seeking weight loss and the findings can be applied in contexts such as weight loss programs, therapy, and maintenance programs, even beyond college settings. The results are particularly useful for helping women regarding stimuli that might serve as triggers for chocolate cravings.

Keywords: Chocolate; Craving; Essential oils; Olfactory; Weight loss.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Chocolate*
  • Craving*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Food Preferences
  • Humans
  • Olfactory Perception*
  • Smell
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taste
  • Young Adult